Look out for Pakistan

November 25, 2011
Shahid Afridi

by Harrias

Pakistan cricket in recent times has been dragged through the mud as wave after wave of controversy has hit their national game. There is no question that bad publicity stems from the source, and in most cases Pakistan cricket and their players have rightly been held accountable.

Three players have been brought to justice in a scandal that has rocked the cricketing public, but not necessarily cricketers themselves. There’s no question that what happened at Lords in 2010 was not a one off. There have been rumours circulating that spot fixing has been going on for years within a variety of teams and countries.

Severe punishment and jail terms look to be the right fix for individuals that are caught tarnishing our great game. Anything more lenient could be seen to offer players a get out clause to persist with such events.

Every player has their own storey to why and how this occurred. We know that Pakistani players are waged by their Cricket Board in a completely different manor to that of an English or Australian cricketer. Most of these players will have come from poorer backgrounds, and the thought of making a quick buck is just too tempting. Big families are relying on their superstar to look after them.

We could argue all day long about the reasons why these players did what they did, but the fact of the matter is that Pakistan cricket is doing better without them, as their recent Stella results against Sri Lanka have indicated.

This doesn’t mean to say that spot fixing itself was causing them to lose games, but more that the culture of spot-fixing was providing a negative influence on their group as a whole. Let’s make no mistake, with or without a certain three players, team Pakistan are as talented as any nation playing the game, if not more so.

With such severe punishments for getting caught, players will just not proceed with such activities. So what is there to focus on now? The cricket? Absolutely.

We have seen a drastic change in the fortunes of the Pakistan side already. Players are going to realise that if they now want to make money out of the game, then it is going to have to be through exceling on the field. If they can do this, they must also realise that it’s not just the Pakistan Cricket Board that has ability to stream money into their pockets. The media, sponsors, Twenty20 sides around the world all have big budgets, and are looking at investing in guys who are making the difference in matches in international cricket.

So there will be a new individual focus for all Pakistani cricketers, but more importantly it is the shift that can occur as a team. With hungry individuals wanting to play the game in the right way, Pakistan and their leaders have a far easier job on their hands to motivate a successful side in order to win cricket matches.

There should be far fewer off field distractions now concerning this group of players and team Pakistan could be a real force moving forward because of this.

The Scoop 25/11/2011

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